Winning, Not Touchdown, On Gonzalez's Mind Against Patriots
INDIANAPOLIS – Anthony Gonzalez knew his statistics.
But although the Colts' second-year wide receiver knew he had yet to catch a touchdown pass, he said on Sunday night that really wasn't much on his mind entering the Colts' showdown with the New England Patriots in Lucas Oil Stadium.
What was on his mind was the Colts' two consecutive losses.
Gonzalez, the Colts' first-round selection in the 2007 NFL Draft, took care of the first statistic – twice – on Sunday night, and because he did, he helped the Colts take care of the issue that had concerned him far more in recent weeks.
"I'm not into that, really – stats or anything like that," Gonzalez said after catching two touchdown passes for the Colts' lone touchdowns in an 18-15 victory over the Patriots on Sunday night.
"I was anxious to win. That was the real nerve or tension, just to get it going a little bit and, 'Let's go out and win a ballgame.'
"That's where it was gratifying for me."
Gonzalez, who entered the game with 30 receptions for 357 yards, caught four passes for 55 yards on Sunday night, with his two touchdown passes coming in the same side of the same end zone – the right side of the north end zone.
And although Gonzalez said they didn't come on the same play, they were each critical.
Gonzalez's first touchdown ended the Colts' second drive – a 15-play, 91-yarder that gave the Colts a 7-0 first-quarter lead.
"It was one of those things – we have it in the repertoire," Gonzalez said. "If the situation dictates it, we go to it. In that situation, it did."
With just over three minutes remaining, Manning again threw to Gonzalez in the right side of the end zone. And although he wasn't as open in the third quarter as the first, the result was the same.
"A simple fade route," Gonzalez said. "Peyton made a great throw, because I wasn't very open. He fit it in there, as he always does. It was fortunate and nice to have it.
"It was nothing special that I did – great throws by Peyton. The first once, great pick by Marvin. That's how it works."
The second touchdown was followed by an equally memorable two-point conversion.
Gonzalez's third-quarter touchdown gave the Colts a 13-12 lead with 3:12 remaining, and rather than kick an extra point, the Colts went for two.
On the play, Manning threw a high pass to Reggie Wayne, the Colts' two-time Pro Bowl wide receiver who missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with a knee injury.
Wayne leaped high and was hit hard seconds after he caught the ball.
He maintained possession, then flipped the ball high in the air.
"It was huge," Wayne said. "It made it a three-point game. We've been working on that play for weeks. We finally had the opunity to get it. I actually saw him coming, so I had time to catch it and close my eyes."
Wayne, who finished the game with five receptions for a team-high 65 yards, has not missed a game since 2001, his rookie season.
"I'm a trooper," Wayne said, smiling. "This is what I do. This is what I love to do. I have to be out there. I've had plenty (of difficult physical challenges). From college on to here, but once you're out there and the adrenaline gets going, you don't feel things."
Wayne, Gonzalez and eight-time Pro Bowl selection Marvin Harrison combined for 13 receptions for 170 yards on Sunday night. In losses to Tennessee and Green Bay the past two weeks, the trio combined for 17 receptions for 175 yards.
"It's always good," Wayne said. "When you get everybody involved, you make it hard for the defenders. We have so many weapons. We feel like if you go into a game keying on one person, somebody else will get you. We look at it as if you pick your poison.